quarta-feira, junho 06, 2007


Esta foi uma previsão feita por escrito por Bill Gates, em 1987, a pedido da revista Omni [link aqui].

Bill Gates, Chairman of the Board, Microsoft Corporation

The processing of digital information is improving very quickly. In ten years you'll have 30 to 40 times as much computational power, and you'll be able to manipulate the images and sounds that you now receive just passively from TV -- you'll insert yourself into a game or even change the outcome according to your wishes. So in 20 years your ability to get information will be expanded exponentially.
Take one example: You're sitting at home. You'll have a variety of image libraries that will contain, say, all the world's best art. You'll also have very cheap, flat panel-display devices throughout your house that will provide resolution so good that viewing a projection will be like looking at the original oil painting. It will be that realistic.
In 20 years, the Information Age will be here, absolutely. The dream of having the world database at your fingertips will have become a reality. You'll even be able to call up a video show and place yourself in it. Today, if you want to create an image on a screen -- a beach with the sun and waves -- you've got to take a picture of it. But in 20 years you'll literally construct your own images and scenes. You will have stored very high-level representations of what the sun looks like or how the wind blows. If you want a certain movie star to be sitting on a beach, kind of being lazy, believe me, you'll be able to do that. People are already doing these things.

Also we will have serious voice recognition. I expect to wake up and say, "Show me some nice Da Vinci stuff," and my ceiling, a high-resolution display, will show me what I want to see -- or call up any sort of music or video. The world will be online, and we'll be able to simulate just about anything. Let's say you want to go out to a racetrack. When you wake up you'll say, "Hey rent me one of those formula cars in Daytona," and with some local controls, a little steering wheel you pull out of your drawer, you'll be able to get the image and feel like you're driving the car.
There's a scary question to all of this: How necessary will it be to go to real places or do real things? I mean, in 20 years we will synthesize reality. We'll do it super-realistically and in real time. The machine will check its database and think of some stories you might tell, songs you might sing, jokes you might not have heard before. Today we simply synthesize flight simulation.
A lot of things are going to vanish from our lives. There will be a machine that keys off of physiological traits, whether it's voiceprint or fingerprint; so credit cards and checks -- pretty flimsy deals anyway -- have got to go. I hope passive entertainment will disappear. People want to get involved. It will really start to change the quality of entertainment because it will be so individualized. If you like Bill Cosby, then there will be a digital description of Cosby, his mannerisms and appearance, and you will build your own show from that.
People will like the idea that the machine really knows them and that the machine can create experiences formed around the events in their lives to fulfill their particular needs and interests. But there's a danger, too. It will be easy to feel worthless or overwhelmed by the amount of data. So what we'll have to do is make sure the machine can tailor the data to the individual.
Probably all this progress will be pretty disruptive stuff. We'll really find out what the human brain can do, but we'll have serious problems about the purpose of it all. We're going to find out how curious we are and how much stimulation we can take. There have been experiments in which a monkey can choose to ingest cocaine and the monkey keeps on pushing that button until he dies. Well, we are going to create some pretty intense experiences through synthesized video-audio. Do you think you'll reach a point of satisfaction when you no longer have to try something new or make something better? Life is really going to change; your ability to access satisfying experiences will be so large.
Take the change in movies in the last few years. Just a few years ago, you had to find out where the movie was playing, then go to a certain neighborhood and stand in line to see the movie. Now you can go two blocks and find 10,000 titles. You feel inadequate. It's going to be intimidating.
Twenty years ago I was ten years old. We already had color TV. I didn't have theories about what the world might be like. But in the next 20 years you won't be able to extrapolate the rate of progress from any previous pattern or curve because the new chips, these local intelligences that can process information, will cause a warp in what it's possible to do. The leap will be unique. I can't think of any equivalent phenomenon in history.
The next innovation, Sensavision, will be like a Walkman attached to your forehead. You won't actually have your head wired because infrared wires will send signals to you. In 2007 Mick Jagger will be on stage, and when Mick feels heat, you'll feel heat. If a spray of water hits Tina [Turner] on the back, you'll feel that, or you'll switch to the stands and smell what people are smoking.

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